Unions demand bonus payment for frontline workers

Efling, Sameyki and the Icelandic Teachers’ Union say that the strain on kindergarten, primary and music school and recreation centre staff has been too much during COVID-19. Big changes to the conditions and requirements of their jobs have taken place in recent months.Efling, Sameyki and the Icelandic Teachers’ Union, on behalf of their members working in kindergartens, primary and music schools and recreation centres demand funding from the education minister in order to pay bonuses to these workers. The demand was made via a letter that the three union leaders; Þorgerður Laufey Diðriksdóttir from the Icelandic Teachers’ Union, Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir from Efling and Árni Stefán Jónsson from Sameyki; sent to Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir, minister for education and culture, today.“It’s clear to all that a great feat has been achieved in the country’s kindergartens, primary and music schools and recreation centres in recent months. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic having had enormous effects on society, schooling has been virtually continuous through unprecedented conditions,” the letter states.It further says that large changes to conditions of work have taken place. “This has had major consequences on the substance of jobs and increased strain on staff, which works every day to educate and take care of children and youths, and to secure their rights to education and development.”The three unions demand that the education minister secure funding and that these workers get bonuses. The proposal is for a one-time payment, with the detail managed by the head of each institution. “The total amount which would go into bonuses would be around 1,000 million kr,” the letter concludes.